FLINT, Mich. (WJBK) - Flint airport police Lt. Jeff Neville continues to make great strides in his recovery.
He was stabbed in the neck by a suspected terrorist at Bishop International Airport. The encouraging news was delivered by the surgeon who treated the injured hero.
"He never gave up. He hung in there until the last click of the handcuff," said Chief Christopher Miller, airport director of public safety.
Friends for 35 years, Miller says Friday he is not surprised to hear Neville is making major progress every day inside Hurley Medical Center.
"Jeff is a fighter," Miller said. "He's a very honorable person, (he is) a very dutiful person. And he never stopped fighting."
Neville's trauma surgeon Dr. Don Scholten says when Neville arrived to Hurley Medical center after being brutally stabbed in the neck Wednesday morning -- they had to move fast.
"It was approximately a 12-inch laceration by his Adam's Apple extended all the way to the posterior aspect of his neck. It went as high as the angle of his jaw."
The cut was only millimeters away from severing major arteries and his airway. Doctors say Neville was calm despite his life-threatening wound. The lieutenant received more than 50 stitches.
"He's alert and awake, he has resumed his usual congenial disposition and is an excellent patient," Scholten said.
Neville had been in a busy terminal when 49-year-old Amor Ftouhi ran up screaming the Arabic phrase for "God is great," before stabbing Neville with a survival knife he purchased from the Gibraltar Trade Center. Chief Miller recalled the knife was as long as his foot.
"I see this huge knife and Lt. Neville is bleeding, but he was fighting," Miller said.
An airport maintenance man was already fighting off Ftouhi as Miller was able to cuff him with the help of another EMS lieutenant.
"I wanted to get him into a lock up and get him secured so I could get back to Jeff," Miller said.
Meanwhile Ftouhi who faces 20 years in prison, could face more charges.
"I understand that this person walked right by me at some point," Miller said. "It could've been me. It could've been anyone."
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Now it's Chief Miller and his coworkers who Dr. Scholten says no doubt, saved Neville's life.
"He knows I love him, he knows I got his back, I know he's got my back," Miller said. "And it's been that way for 35 years."
Doctors say Neville should be discharged early next week and his recovery time is expected to be at least six to eight weeks.